BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Bakersfield Wednesday afternoon joined millions in celebrating Ash Wednesday.

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter, largely observed by Catholic Christians.

Ashes from the palms burned on the previous day, Shrove Tuesday, are then used to mark mass attendees with the ashes being used to mark a cross on each person’s forehead.